When a powerlifter steps up to the platform, there are a thousand things that can flood their mind. Do thoughts affect powerlifting performance? Yes.
At powerlifting championships, it’s mind over matter that often separates the winners from the losers. Any small break in concentration, sliver of doubt or distraction can result in failure or, even worse, injury.
For many, it helps to clear your mind and just go for it! Trust your training. If you have been training like you know you should, then your body will know what to do when it comes time to step up to the plate.
Powerlifting & The Power of the Mind

Diet, exercise and practice all are important in powerlifting, but physical fitness isn’t the only thing that matters in strength sports. Technique and mind control are equally, if not more, important.
The mental aspect plays a large role in how well you perform. It’s important not to get overexcited. It’s good to get psyched up, but you must keep your calm in order to follow commands from judges.
From The Minds of Pro Lifters…

Record setting powerlifter Esteban Rubens of Stratham, NH shared his thoughts on the power of the mind in powerlifting when he said, “You have to focus on something, like the color white. Not seeing anyone, totally blanking out, and you just go for the lift!”
Rubens is well known throughout the east coast for breaking two Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate world records at the New Hampshire/Vermont Powerlifting Championships in April, 2013.
Pete Loux of Newmarket says that having his daughter present at his meets gives him more motivation to do a hard lift. “They cheer for me…that gives me more motivation to do a lift, if someone’s screaming ‘Go Daddy’ at you. I like it!”
While powerlifting isn’t a family affair for everybody, it can greatly help your mood and mentality hearing the cheers and support from the crowd, simply because it’s motivating. It helps you find that strength from within.

Opener – 523: an easy weight I can touch and press quickly, this attempt was different however, the weight felt heavy in my hands, and I was cold. I touched and pressed, once I got to the top quarter I lost it, I had gotten off the throttle and the shirt killed me. missed lift

Second Attempt- 523:
I rolled over, confident I would get it the second time. In the past this was where I would start getting nervous, second guessing myself and just thinking purely negative thoughts, today was different. I was calm cool and collected, confident in my ability and ready to perform. I attack the weight and this time was held at the bottom about 3 seconds, it killed my stretch reflex and I had nothing. missed lift…
Third attempt - 523: this is where 90+% of lifters shut down, where they throw the towel in mentally, and are a lost cause. I used to be that lifter. not today. I credit my mental training in the gym, and constantly striving to refine my mental and spiritual capacity on the platform. Old Ryan would have already been out, would have been dead mentally and not have fought through the adversity. I prepared for the lift the same, except this time I pulled down my super katana collar and widened my grip out. exactly what I needed. I wrapped up and latched my belt. then waited. I think the look on my face here explains it all- what you don’t realize until you are up there, in the moment, is that it is just you and the weight. your training partners can’t help you lift it, your coach can’t will you to lift it, and the crowd can’t make you do it. It is truly you and the weight, your inner fire and the will to succeed predicate your performance on the platform. Here I am, about 6 seconds before I approach the bar, and It’s just me. What was going through my mind at this moment is a secret between me and myself, as I’ve said in the past it is hard to explain what it take to unleash yourself at will, to fully have control of your inner being, and control it at will. This shot in time captures a moment where this is happening and I myself get goosebumps from it.
BARS LOADED!
I attack the weight, harder touch, but easier press. It was still a grinder at the top 1/4 and the crowd was going nuts! I was fatigued and the looseness in the sleeves of my shirt showed a weakness in the shirt. but I stood up after getting the rack command…. where are my lights? the gym fell silent, the lights were not working. an hour long 5 seconds later they lit up… ALL WHITE LIGHTS! the crowd goes nuts, I go crazy and high five and hug everyone. what a great feeling, overcoming adversity when it counts the most! I am truly proud of myself and I know I grew as a lifter that day."